The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces (top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Take any whole number between 1 and 999, add the squares of the digits to get a new number. Make some conjectures about what happens in general.
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten. Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
Spotting patterns can be an important first step - explaining why it is appropriate to generalise is the next step, and often the most interesting and important.
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .
You have been given nine weights, one of which is slightly heavier than the rest. Can you work out which weight is heavier in just two weighings of the balance?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?
Find some triples of whole numbers a, b and c such that a^2 + b^2 + c^2 is a multiple of 4. Is it necessarily the case that a, b and c must all be even? If so, can you explain why?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
I start with a red, a green and a blue marble. I can trade any of my marbles for two others, one of each colour. Can I end up with five more blue marbles than red after a number of such trades?
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
I start with a red, a blue, a green and a yellow marble. I can trade any of my marbles for three others, one of each colour. Can I end up with exactly two marbles of each colour?
Arrange the numbers 1 to 16 into a 4 by 4 array. Choose a number. Cross out the numbers on the same row and column. Repeat this process. Add up you four numbers. Why do they always add up to 34?
Three frogs started jumping randomly over any adjacent frog. Is it possible for them to finish up in the same order they started?
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
Which hexagons tessellate?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle now. . . .
Make a set of numbers that use all the digits from 1 to 9, once and once only. Add them up. The result is divisible by 9. Add each of the digits in the new number. What is their sum? Now try some. . . .
A, B & C own a half, a third and a sixth of a coin collection. Each grab some coins, return some, then share equally what they had put back, finishing with their own share. How rich are they?
Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
Carry out cyclic permutations of nine digit numbers containing the digits from 1 to 9 (until you get back to the first number). Prove that whatever number you choose, they will add to the same total.
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?
A paradox is a statement that seems to be both untrue and true at the same time. This article looks at a few examples and challenges you to investigate them for yourself.
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third places?
Kyle and his teacher disagree about his test score - who is right?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...